Tony Khan Says TNT ‘Never Said Don’t Do Surprises’
During last week’s episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho said TNT didn’t want any more surprise debuts after Sting appeared on AEW Dynamite last December.
This rule was apparently put in place to take advantage of the ratings when announcing something in advance.
“When Sting was a surprise, [TNT] was like ‘don’t do that again.’ That’s why Paul Wight was announced on social media because TNT said, ‘We don’t want surprises, we want to take advantage of the ratings.’ We had a big surprise, a big announcement, and we used the big announcement to announce the next big surprise. I think that’s one of the reasons too, to spread it out a little” (Transcript Fightful)
Following Jericho’s statement, Tony Khan offered some clarification during an interview with Mike Johnson of PWInsider Elite (subscription required).
Khan stated Jericho’s statement wasn’t exactly how the conversation happened, as he was the one speaking with TNT representatives. He also made it clear, “TNT never said don’t do surprises”. He did however state there is a balance in how announcements should be made, with some making more sense in advance, while others work as surprises.
“It’s a mixed bag, I would say it is exactly how it happened…Point being I don’t think that’s exactly how the conversation happened, I know, I’m the one who had it. That’s not exactly how the conversation with TNT went. There’s a balance between announcing things in advance like we’ve done with Mike [Tyson] coming in for this week, or with Paul Wight coming in, telling fans in advance when something’s coming, or surprises that came out of nowhere like when Sting showed up. I think that’s a great balance to have, and I think we’ll be doing both”
“I want to make it clear, TNT never said don’t do surprises, they thought that was great, and they got a huge reaction to Sting, and I think in doing the announcement with Paul, they were excited to do one with a press release, it’s a great strategy” (Transcript HeelByNature.com)
Mike Tyson will be appearing on AEW Dynamite this week, the company issued a press release in advance of his return to the promotion.
AEW’s last major surprise was Christian Cage debuting during their Revolution pay-per-view this past February.